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rhumbaflappy

FSUIPC Saga... A Possible Solution...

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After I posted my response in another thread, I got to thinking about the FSUIPC situation...I can conclude everyone agrees that FSUIPC is an excellent and very necessary product and is considered a core component of the FSxx environment. So...I think we are looking at this issue bass-ackwards.. Instead of a third party payware add-on, I feel we need to start a campaign to Microsoft to OEM it, pay Pete a one time royalty, which would include him supporting it for a year or until the next version of FS is released.This would make everybody happy. But now the question, how do we make Microsoft address this issue?They may reply:"FSUIPC will not be required for FS9. The FS9 SDK will be adequate for third party add-on development. See now it gets down to definition."The Microsoft FS Development Team may have not ever used FSUIPC, or any third party add-ons. Therefore they have no idea what dependency the Flight Sim community has on it.So maybe we need to approach AVSIM and Flightsim.com with a Pole request with the question:Do you think Microsoft should obtain the rights or OEM FSUIPC from Pete Dowson and make it part of the FS9 / FS 2004 release?If everyone who owns FS 2002 and are planning on purchasing FS 2004 / FS 9 votes yes, Microsoft must consider it.Again, if there is overwelming evidence that FSUIPC will not be required for FS 2004 / FS9 then it is a mute issue. But we still need to let Microsoft know where we stand!Please reply to this thread if you think it is a good idea. Please keep the comments to Yes or No, If No, please supply a "BRIEF" reason why.Thanks!Barry

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No. FSUIPC is freeware and always has been. Do we want to do this for every freeware product that's useful? Why just FSUIPC? Until someone starts charging for FSUIPC I will not pay for it. Simple.Regards,

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That thinking is "bass-akwards" as well, in my opinion.MS shouldn't be relying on (or buying) a third party to provide essential internal state information to external addon developers. That this situation still exists in this day and age where every serious game developer provides comprehensive tools, documentation and support out the yin-yang to foster end-user addons post release is simply bewildering. I'm not joking here either: if you are only into flight sims you have no idea the steps taken today by deveopers to help end-user addon developers post release: its a wonderful world out there in game community. Whats happened here?With all respect to Pete and his work, we're not talking brain surgery with FSUIPC either. For an FS developer at Microsoft Game Studios to whip up the same functionality that FSUIPC provides would days to a week at most (they have the code to work from right at their fingertips... of course).That something like flight simulator doesn't provide state information out-of-box (arguably its most important addon developer feature) is like Doom III or Unreal Tournament (or insert any popular game from almost any genre released in the past few years HERE) not shipping with an editor. There'd be a riot in their respective communities.But not here. Its simply bewildering.If MS wanted to fast track it by buying Pete's work, fine with me. But shipping FS9 without a way to get at state information out of box *should* be unforgivable to the entire community.Take care,ElrondPS: So as not to confuse my message: Pete's WideFS and other utilities don't fall into the "absolutely required" category like FSUIPC does.---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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I think you missed the point...Instead of FSUIPC being Payware, I propose Microsoft OEM or buy the rights from Pete Dowson and MS can distribute it as part of FS 2004 / FS 9 (installed in Modules folder automatically). My purpose for this post / thread is to get feedback on whether this is a good idea.I think it would solve a lot of the issues, unless FSUIPC is not needed in FS 2004 / FS9. Which hasn't be determined.Barry

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No!If MS had the rights, you would see one version for the life of a flight simulator. Think of the number of iterations of FSUIPC that Peter has provided since September 2001. They have solved internal and external problems with the interface. They have added many new features to enhance the user's peripherals with the flightsim.Peter has dedicated his life for MS flightsim in the several years I have been involved with them. It is taking a toll on his personal life from what I read on his forum.I agree that I would like FSUIPC to remain freeware but am willing to pay for it if it becomes necessary. I can't fly without its control loader interfaces for joysticks, yokes, and rudder pedals.

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I can conclude that this is a vote "Yes" then...Barry

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Microsoft did not and would not in its SDKs allow for third party communication with processes in FS2K2 limiting functionality to perhaps future MS products. In their typical market dominence philosophy this restricted what enhancements could occur outside the MS campus. MS in its programming package app licenses _supposedly_ now restricts what external code source libraries can be included in a developers product according to a posting in a programmer's forum. FSUIPC provided a wealth of useful interfacing. If MS bought the rights to it, it could mean it and its functionality might disappear reducing the quality of the FS environment and capabilities of third part development.This is said to have happened in other areas of the MS world and is not a practise exclusive to MS marketing.I would rather third party developers pay Mr. Dowson an SDK fee on a one time or royalty basis and include the amount dispersed over the selling of the their product to users. This would be similar to the way developers pay for programming applications which require licensing for the released run-time libraries. I certainly as an alternative would not mind paying a realistic amount for FSUIPC as a utility just like any other multiple application utility.I sent a contribution to help support Mr. Dowson until his running expenses get figured out.

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Microsoft would buy the rights to the FSUIPC and distribute it as part of FS 9 / 2004. Pete would continue to support it. The benefit would be that everyone would have FSUIPC when they purchased FS 9 / FS 2004. Then everyone will have free upgrades, until the next version of Flight Simulator is released.This is a Win-Win situation for everyone. Microsoft, Pete Dowson, and the Flight Sim community.Now if FSUIPC is not needed, then the issue is mute. But this has not been determined. The main purpose of this thread is to get enough feedback to have AVSIM / Flightsim.com do a pole, and see what the level of importance FSUIPC is to the Flight Sim community. Then if concluded overwelmingly that Microsoft consider this proposal, the statistics will support it.Thanks for the feedback!Barry

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A qualified "yes". A much better solution would be for MS to write and provide their own, home grown (and probably much more complete) state interface mechanism written from scratch. Pete would continue to develop FSUIPC as he desired, but it would be tasked to the excellent non-state provider abilities it already has, such as what W. stated below. Free preferably, for profit if need be.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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"Microsoft did not and would not in its SDKs allow for third party communication with processes in FS2K2"Then that absolutely should be the hot topic of discussion. If Microsoft doesn't provide what the vast number of customers want most (great addons that *must* use state information to work correctly), *THAT* should be the contentious issue in this community... Not Pete's charging for his work."Would not", "Will not". Humbug I say. We pay their bills. We're the consumers of their product. If a missing feature is important enough to the community, it'll be a required feature for sales to remain anywhere where they want them. If the addons that rely upon FSUIPC *really* are that great or important, this should be a widely debated topic equating it something like FS9 shipping without ground scenery. Would you buy it if it didn't?Don't discount the "word of mouth" power this and similar communities control. While the actual numbers of hyper-involved consumers in these communities are smallish indeed, the influence in word of mouth contained within these forums control a large number of pocket books. If its important enough to the community, anything is within reach.So, thats what needs to be discussed here: Microsoft's "supposed" hostility towards the addons people dearly love. I'd make a large bet any "actual" hostility wouldn't last long and state information would be provided out-of-box. Like it should be.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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Hi Elrond.Actually, MS has given us the info to obtain state data with the Netpipes SDK.I'm such a miserable programmer, that I have a lot of difficulty fathoming how it's done.Apparently it uses the FS flight recorder function. An app would set up a "pipe" ( shared memory ) and then turn on the FS flight recorder to save to the pipe, rather than a filename. It then grabs a 4096(?) byte chunk of data, then turn off the recorder.The pipe can then be read by the app. A timer loop could grab this chunk at regular intervals, so the app's data could be updated.If data needs to be placed into the sim by an app, the pipe can write the data to the recorder as a "play" function, and thereby alter the sim.If someone could create a freeware set of subroutines for VB, Delphi and C++, application programmers would no longer be dependant on FSUIPC for interprocess communication with flight simulator. This is what Microsoft was telling us with the Netpipes SDK... they have a preferred method of IPC they want us to use... and it's not FSUIPC. In MS's characteristic way, they have told us nearly everything we need to know, but provide almost nothing as far as a real working example. :(This method would work with all versions of FS back to FS98 ( I think ), and would not need any "updates", as long as the flight recorder is used as it is now.Then Peter Dowson could charge all he wants for his program without affecting other application developers. The "IPC" part of his DLL is just a tiny fraction of what his program actually does. And that part is flawed in that it needs to adapt to each version of FS... unlike what Netpipes indicates via the flight recorder. This flaw of FSUIPC is exactly why Peter is looking at a significant time effort to update FSUIPC for FS2004, and still maintain backward compatibility. Dick

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If NETPIPES for the average 3rd party programmer is that difficult to use, then a sharp guy like Peter probably could have his utility sit between this and the 3rd party app. Perhaps he is aware of this but sees limitations.Maybe someone could ask on his forum. He should be back after 4/18.

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Hi Dick,"I'm such a miserable programmer..."It'll be a cold day in hell before I fall for that one my friend. :-)I'm so out of the loop on FS internals the past year that I fully wasn't aware of what you describe (by choice, I stress, the reasons are a whole different topic). Netpipes indeed sounds like exactly what is required. So, all thats really needed then is an example of its use or two and a complete mapping of its interface - multiple language, custom access derivatives would be a cakewalk in that case.What it comes down to yet again is: lack of documentation in FS. What a surprise. While the fault lies in MS's hands for this continued needless impasse, maybe some fault lies in our hands as well. Meaning: maybe the dev community hasn't been proactive enough in this area. Since MS policy forbids direct developer communication (insane in todays world, but there you go), maybe the dev community should change tactics and start some sort of custom voting "dev site" targeted directly at the FS developers. It would highlight the most important information required from MS in their SDK documentations, with a fully democratic method. If we can't change Microsoft Ways (think the Moonies here :-lol), maybe its time we started talking to them directly - in the only indirect fashion they allow. Oxymoron, I know, but alas.Thanks for the heads up as usual,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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I think we should force MS to buy the right of all the cool freeware planes, sceneries and applications. Did I make you laugh? Then think about how funny to say MS should buy the rights or hire Peter :)Seriously; if Peter wants some money for his work he`s free to do, the market will decide if is this app. really needed ( I think it is so I wish him a bunch of fat checks), but please stop making this collective whine. He`s a grown up, he can make his deccision. I don`t need to hear the reason behind it. If he needs the money let`s make FSUIPC payware. Set the price and if it`s priced good he`ll see money flowing.Please don`t think I don`t have respect toward him, it`s just funny to read you guys trying to change his mind and trying to tell what MS and Peter should do. I don`t think either of them really cares. They are making deccisions based on their existing professional experience.

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Blah, blah.How did this discussion, right in front of you, completely fly over your head? No one is begrudging Peter, his work or his desire/ability to make money from that work. As a matter of fact, most are advocating FSU-IPC continue in whatever monetary fashion he deems necessary: minus the IPC part.Here, I'll help to try and clear up your confusion in simpler terms: This thread is about a partially broken game/feature from Microsoft and how to fix it. Peter has done that for a long time... Its more than high time Microsoft does that itself (and it seems they have with the latest SDK, albeit in a somewhat broken fashion as well, to date).I would love if people actually read, but more important - understood threads before responding to them.Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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First possibility: M$ hires Pete Dowson as I recall they did the originator of the FS6IPC, (Adam S.) concept back in the FS98/FS95 days. M$ then includes FSUIPC a part of the FS SDK.Second possiblity: M$ sees Pete Dowson making a small amount of money from his essential FSUIPC programs. Their Corporate lawyers determine that this violates the M$ FS license (Remember when you clicked "I agree") and they launch a law suit complaining about "reverse engineering" or something similar in lawyer'ese.Third possiblity: All us users of FSUIPC simply do the right thing and quietly slip Pete a few $ or pounds. (Yes, I've already done that already myself). He's very thankful and deserves your support. It's quick and easy. You choose the amount. Go here and click on the "donations" notehttp://www.schiratti.com/dowson.htmlLarry JonesFlorence, MT

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Has something changed? FSUIPC is freeware and always has been. Like all freeware out there until someone starts charging for it I will not pay for it. Simple. I pay a lot for payware every week it seems. Just ask my wife. I don't see a problem that needs to be solved here.Regards,

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Hi Barry,I may have a different view, more from an add-on side than a user side, but it seems that some confusion lies in these "FSUIPC" threads. So let me try to express how I see it.FSUIPC is a 3 tier application:- provides feature enhancements to FS2002 (such as no reposition on flight plan load and "weather control") and "bug" corrections (such as "stop the rain")- provides access to FS2002 variables (totally unecessary for any program running in the FS2002 address space, i.e. gauges / modules, since fully documented in the FS2002 SDK)- provides "interface" functions to FS2002, such as Joystick calibration and shortcut keys.As a "developper" support application, besides the AI Traffic (for which we don't use FSUIPC neither), there is no need for FSUIPC in accessing FS2002 internals. Besides, any FS2002 "FSUIPC" offset is easily addresseable in the globals.DLL. Well, almost all of them :-)So even not documented FS2002 vars could be easily accessed this way (such as the day / night / dusk / dawn variable).As a "user" support application, then each one's its own! Pretty much as purchasing a Vendor GPS system such as the Flight Line 530XP instead of using the default FS2002 one, or purchasing an "AI Traffic" tool instead of the default FS2002 one, or purchasing a "weather" tool instead of the default FS2002 one.In this respect, having it a standard component in FS2004 makes no sense (even less sense considering that Microsoft should be aware of the bugs in FS2002 and solve then in the next release, should the reason considered for FSUIPC from a user standpoint is to solve bugs).Having it as a payware application makes sense. Should a user needs / wants the "enhancements" (such as the weather), then it may be a good solution to purchase, as mentioned above.Having it as a payware application for developpers (even some dared to mention "developpers to pay only" as stated in another thread) makes little sense for FS gauges / modules since the information broadcasted is readily available (again, besides the AI Traffic). It may however makes sense for "external hardware" interfaces / cockpit builders. But then, Microsoft features a more versatile and robust way with Netpipe...Hope it helps!

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>As a "developper" support application, besides the AI >Traffic (for which we don't use FSUIPC neither), there is no >need for FSUIPC in accessing FS2002 internals. Jean-Luc you miss a point. Large part of FS addons are written in VB, Delphi. As far I know Netpipes and all SDK are for C or C++ so you will see a lot of applications without support. >Do you think Microsoft should obtain the rights or OEM FSUIPC from >Pete Dowson and make it part of the FS9 / FS 2004 release?What part? The interprocess part? No, Microsoft will not respond as fast as Pete. Do you want to see a 2 year cycle on FSUIPC? I don't. Jos

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What you are proposing would be a HUGE mistake. Pete does things for us that MS would not even dream of spending the time to do. Take for instance the last major thing I saw Pete do. He was reading the Home cockpit Forum here at AVSIM and stumbled across a thread where someone was contemplating how to put reverse thrust on a seperate axis. Well within a week Pete took it upon himself to program this feature into FSUIPC and then release an updated version. Can you see MS doing that??!! Not in a million years....You know why? It is not profitable, that's why. Pete helps us all for the love of the Hobby, MS helps us all for the bottom line $$. Not that MS is bad for doing this but that is the way buisnesses work. Imagine an employee of MS telling his boss that he wanted to spend some time on the clock helping some poor flight simmer who is trying to build his home system and then release this work for free. Not gonna happen my friends. Bottom line is Pete has done us all a huge favor for so long now that most of us just "expect" he will continue, and some even demand it. I say let Pete make it payware, let us all pay $10-$20 for it including all the upgrades needed to support the current version of FS. This way Pete gets compensation for his work, we all get to continue to enjoy the fruits of one very unselfish man and the cost to each of us is minimal. Just my 2 Cents worth....http://www.ktone.org/images/FSD_ken.jpg

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Thanks everyone for the comments..I think the main point of this thread is to see if AVSIM should create a pole with a simple yes or no question.Do you think Microsoft should OEM FSUIPC and distribute it with the next version of Flight Simulator (FS9 / FS 2004)? Microsoft would just pay Pete a royalty or fee and then he would support and develop it like he currently does. The key here is distribution and then Pete would have ample funding to continue development and support.This makes the most sense to me since it is the most widely used add-on for Flight Simulator FS 98 and FS 200x today.Now the only exception to this case would be if FSUIPC isn't needed in FS 9 / 2004 at all. Then it is a mute point..But whether it is or isn't required hasn't been determined. Microsoft will probably say that it FSUIPC isn't necessary, when in reality, Pete Dowson is really the only one that can make that judgement.Barry

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I certainly don't support MS providing fsuipc as part of the OEM FS package. I think just about all the reasons I feel this way have already been pointed out previously in this thread. Add to that the fact that probably 95% of people who buy FS don't use or require fsuipc in any case. You can't judge the usefulness of fsuipc based on what you read in internet discussion forums such as this. The vast majority of people who buy the sim end up using the sim just as it is out of the box - without problems, nor with any need to enhance the product in such a way as to warrant the use of fsuipc. Whilst there are quite a few add-on manufacturers (software and hardware) that rely on the fsuipc module, they are still only catering to an esoteric high end market - not the mass market to whom the simulation is primarily aimed at. In my own case, I don't use fsuipc and don't need it, even though I consider myself a reasonably hardcore user of FS.

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Hi Jon,I'd love to see any substantiated research that backs up claims like:"The vast majority of people who buy the sim end up using the sim just as it is out of the box - without problems, nor with any need to enhance the product in such a way as to warrant the use of fsuipc."I always have to chuckle a bit when I read stuff like that (and its stated here quite frequently). Sure, there *have* to be some people who don't know what the internet is today or how to get on it - *YET STILL PLAY GAMES ON THEIR OWN COMPUTERS* -, but I've never met any either professionally or personally. The overwhelming majority of people I meet in my work who play games are online as well - its almost impossible not to be in todays day and age regardless of your computer habits. This runs the gamut from the enthusiasts like you and me, and the newbies buying their first computer: almost always with getting on the net as the main reason - Word and games the distant second.So, lets assume that newbies who play games are all on the net. What the first thing most people do when they get a game? Go find the patch for it - because almost every game released today is released in a beta state - and everyone knows it (specially the newbies). So, they head off to google to find info on "flight simulator". Here's its listing:http://www.google.com/search?q=flight+simulatorWhats the third ranked listing there? FlightSim.com of course (unfortunately, the first mention of AVSIM isn't until the 223 listing! - ATTN AVSIM GUYS: dramatically fix your Keyword metas!).My point being: the oft stated "average gamer" that only flies FS stock out of box and nothing more, ever, is a *very* rare breed I'd think. The internet is much more pervasive than those that make this argument give it credit.Take care,Elrond---Not enough bandwidth to display this signature! Don't reformat hard drive? (Y/N)

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